Movie Review: Gulliver’s Travels

Just watched Jack Black the size of the Jolly Green Giant.  Was Gulliver a big disappointment? As someone who has seen many of the versions of Gulliver’s Travels I feel that I can throw down a few opinions.    Well here is my side of the story and a full review of Gulliver Travels.

Lemuel Gulliver(Jack Black) works in the mail room of one of New York’s largest magazine companies.  Hey even Michael J Fox in “The Secrets of My Success “started in the mail room. Although the real problem with Gulliver, he has been  the same position for ten years!  Now he is showing around a new hire who eventually winds up taking Gulliver’s job.  Gulliver has even had a crush on a certain woman, Darcy Silverman(Amanda Peet), but his go with the flow and lack of confidence and fascintions with Guitar Hero has kept him just too cautious to make a move.  Gulliver is now at an all time low and after his recent demotion he feels he must see Darcy and tell her how he really feels.  Once again Gulliver can’t get the words out right and in return Gulliver is given a proposition to do something he has never done before., travel and be a travel writer.

Did I say that Gulliver is not a writer, but somehow he convinces Darcy that he is the man for the job.  Gulliver is to go travel and give a full detailed report on the area of Bermuda  as in the Bermuda Triangle.  Once again Gulliver’s lack of telling the truth, being bold and lack of being able to tell Darcy how he really feels has now sent him boating towards the Bermuda Triangle.  Gulliver has just landed himself in an adventure when all he wanted to do was ask his crush on a date and even lied about his writing credentials when he simply copied and pasted his rough draft for Darcy from another travel magazine.

Well charma I guess comes to haunt the poor and coward-less Gulliver.  In a huge typhoon Gulliver and his ship are sent to a new land and Gulliver has blacked out.  He awakes on the beach and find himself tied down by thousands of little people where Gulliver landed in the land  of Liliput.  Gulliver is now as tall as a New York skyscraper and with no clue why or how this happened to him.  The  little people see Gulliver the Giant as a threat to their society and in prisons him within the lands of Liliput.  There he finds the one person that may fill in what has just happened.

Gulliver meets Horatio(Jason Segel) a Lilliput inhabitant that broke  a large rule in the land.  He hit on the royal princess of Lilliput and because this land is sort of like a modern day Shakespearian/Chamelot influenced kingdom the King and Queen as well as the General of Arms are quite strict on their rules.  All this changes when Lilliput is attacked and Gulliver saves Lilliput from disaster and the once person that was looked over, now looks over everyone else and for the first time in his life people look up to Gulliver.  However will Gulliver and his trait of telling lies, stories and bad habits now affect a whole kingdom?  By the way Darcy has deadlines and will she put herself in harms way because of Gulliver’s recent disappearance?  Gulliver’s persona will be tested and at one point finds himself among the taller people where he is small enough to find himself in a doll house, which is quite hilarious to see Jack Blackin a doll house.

Overall this movie is three stars.  It is  a family film that kids enjoy but don’t recommend it to that girl you are trying to impress.  Jack Black is well Jack Black as usual. Jason Segel brings some humor as well with his role as Horatio while Chris O’dowd as General Edward is kind of a dick but we all know what happens to these people in the end.  Emily Blunt plays the royal princess who Horatio is in love with and is unfortunately with General Edward.   The movie was directed by Rob Letterman who is also known for directing “Monster versus Aliens” and “Shark Tale.”  Lastly I think this movie gets so harshly criticized because it sort of is not quite like the other Gulliver’s Travels movies books or even mini series or animated feature.  Most of the time this story is portrayed like a drama/adventure movie and this certainly falls into the family comedy genre.  If you like Jack Black you will enjoy it but if your not  a fan then you may be disappointed.


4 thoughts on “Movie Review: Gulliver’s Travels

  1. I am certain that nearly every person in the Western world (and some beyond it) is familiar with the quintessential scene of “Gulliver’s Travels,” that of a man tied down to the ground and surrounded by tiny humans. I am equally certain however, that only a very small percentage of these people have actually read Jonathan Swift’s satirical novel, first published in 1726. If you consider yourself a serious reader, then “Gulliver’s Travels” is essential reading, one of the many classic novels that you simply *have* to read before you die.

    Divided into four parts, “Gulliver’s Travels” is presented as the historical memoirs of Lemuel Gulliver who narrates his strange adventures in undiscovered countries. In doing so, Swift explores and satirises almost every conceivable issue important in both his time and in ours: politics, religion, gender, science, progress, government, family and our basic ideas of defining humanity. As well as this, the novel is full of wonder and humour (some of it bordering on the vulgar!) and Swift’s exploration of imaginary societies and countries is satire at its peak – no one before or since has reached Swift’s mastery of this style.

    Some of the more direct parodies concern people and events that have long since passed away, and as such an index or extensive background is required in order to fully understand the allusions that Swift is making. However, a far larger portion of the text discusses issues that are still relevant to today’s readers, especially in the responsibilities of power and the limits to technological/scientific progression.

    Part One: “A Voyage to Lilliput” is the most famous segment of the novel, and the context of the afore-mentioned “hostage episode”. After taking leave of his family and country, Gulliver is washed up on the shores of an island inhabited by humanoid beings not more than six inches tall. Though at first suspicious, Gulliver soon earns the trust of the Lilliputian people who enlist their newfound giant in defending them from their enemies on the bordering island of Blefufeu – who likewise are desperate to use the giant in their war against Lilliput. Hmm, a squabble over what is considered a weapon capable of mass destruction. Sound familiar? This ability to place modern day references over older texts and their meanings is what separates literature from books – universal themes and concerns that do not age with time.

    In Part Two, Gulliver reaches the polar opposite of Lilliput in “A Voyage to Brobdingnag”, a country of giants where he becomes the helpless victim of a greedy farmer who exploits his diminutive stature to his own advantage. Displayed as a freak of nature, the tiny Gulliver is forced to perform circus tricks till he finally comes into the care of the royal court. Despite being cared for by the gentle farmer’s daughter Grildrig, Gulliver has to survive wasp-attacks, hungry cats and a malicious dwarf before he is finally seized by a hunting bird and set adrift at sea.

    One of the most appealing things about Gulliver’s travels in both Lilliput and Brobdingnag is the disorientation he feels on re-entering the company of humans of a normal stature – each time they seem either too small or too big and Gulliver is constantly slouching or tip-toeing in an attempt to reconcile his body to what his mind tells him he should see. The best part is that we share this confusion with him, as we ourselves become accustomed to life in the tiny and giant worlds.

    Part Three is the least known of the four parts, and for those who have read the novel, the least popular. I consider this unfortunate as it is more full of variety and wonderment than the other segments, contains some of his sharpest parodies and is my personal favourite `voyage’ in the novel. Titled “A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Gluggdubdrib and Japan”, it is easy to see that it this episode is filled with Swift’s most creative inventions. It is here that Gulliver discovers a floating island, a race of immortals, a university in which they attempt to discover the answers to all things and an island of spirits who summon historical figures up out of the past. With everything from inward-eyed people to Alexander the Great to exploding dogs, Part Three has it all.

    Finally, in Part Four, the novel reaches its most critical and thought-provoking statement on humankind in “A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms”. Gulliver reaches a country inhabited by a remarkable race of horses with the intelligence of humans – perhaps with even *more* intelligence than humans. Also living here is a disgusting race of beings known as “Yahoos” – filthy, greedy, slothful, lecherous creatures who embody every vice known to mankind – and who are suspiciously humanoid in shape and form. Gulliver is faced with a crisis of the soul: does he really come from the race of Yahoos? Will the Houyhnhnms accept him as one of their own or as a Yahoo? And how can he ever return home with the devastating wisdom he has gained? Swift presents a fascinating study on the dark side of humanity and the nobility of animals in the climax of the novel that is the most controversial, the most studied and the most memorable.

    “Gulliver’s Travels” is not an easy book to read; like all older literary novels it requires the attention and patience of the reader, has complicated and contemporary issues to discuss and a tendency to be a bit long-winded at times. But regardless of this, “Gulliver’s Travels” is a fascinating and enjoyable read and one of those books that just *has* to be read during your lifetime – if not for any other reason but to say that you *have* read it. Though the scanty amount of reviews on this page is disheartening, “Gulliver’s Travels” is a must-read, pure and simple.

    I also recommend the Hallmark adaptation of Swift’s novel – NOT to be watched instead of reading the book, but as a surprisingly faithful and intelligent miniseries that accompanies the novel well.

    • Thank you for inside I am familiar with the novel and believe that this version was just a sample of what the story is about. I do wish they did go into more depth but that is Hollywood for you. Thanks for the comment and keep checking in to the blog.

  2. I think Gulliver’s Travels was the least of any movie I have ever seen after renting it. It was so bad I actually like it more in fast forward than actually watching it. The good news is that I was able to use the time I saved to watch another movie that I actually liked. The only thing that made renting this movie less painful was that I didn’t have to pay a cent for it because of my free Blockbuster movie rental I got with my new DISH Network employee account. I exchange my movies in the mail and I don’t waste any gas; it sure makes checking the mail more exciting!

  3. Pingback: Top Ten Posts at KCHMB « The Kenny Critic Huge Movie Blog

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